Environment-friendly fertilizer supplement stands up to temperature, water stresses
Worldwide, drought conditions, extreme temperatures, and high soil saline content all have negative effects on tomato crops. These natural processes reduce soil nutrient content and lifespan, result in reduced plant growth and yield, and ultimately translate to lower profits for tomato producers. As an alternative to unsustainable practices such as the use of synthetic fertilizers, producers are looking to environment-friendly soil ameliorants such as verimcompost leachate, an organic liquid produced from earthworm-digested material and casts that occur during the vermicomposting process.
"Earthworm casts present in vermicompost contain proteins, vitamins, and micro- and macro-elements such as nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, and magnesium," explained Johannes Van Staden, lead author of a recent study published in HortScience. Van Staden and colleagues Mayashree Chinsamy and Manoj Kulkarni, from the Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, studied the effects of vermicompost-leachate (VCL) on tomato seedlings subjected to various temperatures and levels of water stress.
To investigate temperature stress, potted tomato seedlings were exposed to temperatures of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 °C and treated with and without vermicompost leachate (1:10 v/v). The experiments of water stress involved established tomato seedlings treated with and without VCL (1:10 v/v) treated with varying volumes (15, 30, and 45 mL) of half-strength nutrient solution. "Most of the morphological parameters of VCL-treated tomato seedlings were not only markedly enhanced at optimum temperature (25 °C), but also exhibited significant improvement under high temperature (30 °C)," the researchers wrote. "At lower temperatures (10, 15, and 20 °C), although VCL promoted several growth parameters of a tomato seedling, this improvement did not differ significantly with the respective controls."
The water stress experiments showed that photosynthetic pigments and compatible solute contents were significantly reduced in VCL-treated tomato seedlings at 15 mL. "Physiological parameters were reduced within the range of those found in more favorable conditions as observed for 30-mL supply of nutrient solution," the authors noted. The scientists said that the results of these water stress experiments clearly demonstrate the possibility of using less water resources to produce quality crops.
The results also showed that the constant supply of VCL improved morphological characters, including leaf area and shoot/root biomass, enabling VCL-treated tomato seedlings to perform better. The scientists concluded that vermicompost-leachate is a suitable soil amendment alternative that can significantly improve overall crop performance of tomato seedlings under abiotic stresses. "More importantly, VCL is organic and therefore can be used as an environment-friendly fertilizer supplement," they added.
The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortScience electronic journal web site: http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/content/49/9/1183.abstract
Founded in 1903, the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) is the largest organization dedicated to advancing all facets of horticultural research, education, and application.
More information at http://ashs.org
Michael W. Neff | EurekAlert!
Crop achilles' heel costs farmers 10 percent of potential yield
24.01.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
How much drought can a forest take?
20.01.2017 | University of California - Davis
A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.01.2017 | Life Sciences
24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine